The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded Metra a $14 million grant through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery VII (TIGER) program, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) announced yesterday.
The Chicago commuter-rail agency will use the funds to replace the existing 134-year-old bridge over the Fox River. A new double track bridge will be built to eliminate a traffic bottleneck between freight rail and Metra’s Milwaukee District-West Line. The new bridge also will allow for new positive train control technology, according to a joint press release from the lawmakers.
“Traffic is only going to increase in the future and our region’s infrastructure needs to keep up if we want our economy to grow,” said Duckworth.
The only remaining single-track segment of the line into Chicago, the bridge is the source of traffic delays for the 50 Metra trains and up to eight freight trains that pass over it every day.
“Metra’s improvement plan will bring an outdated bridge into the 21st century with new technology that will dramatically improve safety and double tracking that will increase speed and reliability for the 6.8 million passengers that rely on the MD-W line every year,” said Durbin.
Duckworth and Durbin are among U.S. lawmakers and state leaders that beganannouncing TIGER VII grant awards on Monday, after the USDOT began notifying states and cities of grant money coming their way.